BACKSTORY: Spiral Crochet

Everybody remember where we parked.

One of many memorable quotes (memorable to me, at least) from the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, that line was delivered to amusing effect by Captain James T. Kirk after landing a captured Klingon scout-class warbird in the middle of Golden Gate Park in 20th century San Francisco. This reminder to the crew made sense in the context of the scene because the ship was cloaked and therefore invisible.  But even when walking away from your perfectly visible vehicle, it’s still a good thing to make note of where you’ve parked.

I can never remember.  I might attribute my lapses in recall to advanced age. But this is one instance I can’t play the “old” card because I have been losing track of the car ever since I learned to drive at seventeen.  You know that feeling, huh?  You emerge from a grocery store with a loaded cart, or from the movies with rowdy kids in tow, or from holiday gift shopping with arms filled with packages.  Your heart stops as you scan the sea of parked vehicles and you can’t find your car.

Only once in my life did I experience the worst case scenario where my vehicle was actually not there, stolen.  That’s another story.  In the back of your mind, especially after you’ve hiked up and down several aisles of the parking lot searching for and not finding your car,  this is a real, nagging possibility.  Most of the time, though, the car is there somewhere.

Way back when cars had sticky-out-y rod antennae, you’d often see funny things stuck to the tops of them to serve as locators.  I tried doing that for a while but annoyingly the stupid Smurf doll wouldn’t stay impaled.

If you don’t mind cruising for prime spaces, you could try parking as close to the front of the building as possible so your car is immediately and easily seen. This works well outside of destinations with only one entrance. But where there are multiple portals, like at the mall, it’s useful to park in the same place every time or within a few spaces in a specific area, someplace less frequented, quiet and therefore usually empty.  That’s why I automatically eschew the main mall entrance and head for an end cap, the door at the back of one of the anchor department stores. All I have to remember is which store, which entrance, and use it every visit.  After years of practice I now do it without thinking.

So every time I go to the mall I find myself winding through the same departments of the same store in order to get to the coffee, without which I cannot contemplate any shopping.  This path takes me through shoes, then menswear, then jewelry, handbags, women’s fashions and finally the scary, shiny cosmetics counters before I see the light from the mall. I routinely fly past everything, but once in a while something catches my eye and it’s always a garment display.

What captures my attention isn’t the garment itself, not the beauty or lack of it, not the style or even the color. I am drawn to fabric, the drape, pattern and textures of materials, knitwear, knits that mimic crochet and of course crocheted pieces. I see it all in terms of stitchwork and spend inordinate amounts of time dissecting the fabric and putting it in terms of crochet stitches and filing it away in my brain for inspiration later.

People who have the misfortune of accompanying me on these shopping forays get terribly disgusted with me. At first they might wait for me while I examine the enticing fabrics more closely, even when they can’t imagine why I’d be looking at those particular items. But after frequent long stops they generally abandon me and cover the retreat with “Hey, meet you at Starbucks later!”. This is why I go to the mall alone.

The point is, I see crochet stitch patterns everywhere, even where there’s no crochet to be seen. By stitch pattern I mean a set or combination of crochet stitches that have a cohesiveness or form an image, a discrete piece or parcel of crochet. We call that parcel a stitch pattern repeat, because that’s what gets repeated across a row and up the rows to form crocheted fabric. I encounter and experiment with many stitch patterns, but few can be counted in a rarefied group that has become my comfort zone.

And that’s where crocheted spirals live, in my stitch pattern comfort zone.  I am so familiar with the look of spirals, how they are made, and how they can be shaped and manipulated to get the desired results, that designing with them is really fun. Over the years I have used variations on spiral stitch patterns in several designs. With the release of the latest booklet in my self-published pattern line I think I’ve finally been able to get spirals out of my system and onto the page.

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So I present DJC: Spirals, a collection of seamless tops that puts spiral construction in your hands.  This top may resemble one of my old designs published in a now out-of-print magazine, but it’s so much more than a mere reclaiming and re-print of Sophisticated Swirls from 2006. With new, detailed written instructions, tips and techniques, options for body and sleeve lengths, a tutorial about interior shaping, stitch diagrams, fresh samples in current yarns, and extended sizing that covers XS through 4X with 12 sizes, DJC: Spirals is a master class.

DJC: Spirals is a 29 page pdf download, available for purchase at DesigningVashti.com.  I hope you will enjoy this pattern as much as I truly needed to write it.  :-)

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11 thoughts on “BACKSTORY: Spiral Crochet

  1. Nice…lovely designs, I especially like the three quarter sleeve top. Thanks also for the parking lot memories. Ah yes thank God for remote alarms and panic buttons. Because to be stranded on a cold winter holiday shopping day, back in the days when we had real winters in NY, when it seemed like the cars in the lot grew in numbers exponentially from the time you first arrived, to the time you emerged with bags loading down your tired arms and not to be able to find your vehicle, wind whipping your face frozen, is no fun.

  2. I don’t know what’s cuter….the designs or you! I love the second, grey, number! Exquisite designs, all! Thanks for sharing! I too have trouble with the car! My impaled doohicky is a Spiderman head! I always have to park by the same store, in the same row at the mall so I don’t forget where my car is!

    Sheila

    • I suffer from terminal cuteness. :D
      But thanks for the kind words. I used self-images to hurry along the publishing process. Otherwise if I had waited until I could arrange/afford a real model shoot, DJC:Spirals wouldn’t have been ready for another couple of months.

      Yours,

      Doris

  3. Guys, you won’t be disappointed with this one! It is truly a master class on design and construction as only our Rock Star of Crochet can deliver. I’m having so much fun “planning” with this pattern – there are so many possibilities, I will certainly end up with more than one garment :) And I may have to attempt to size it down – Princess1 is looking longingly over my shoulder.

    As for parking, just pick a spot as far as possible from any entryway. Chances are your vehicle will be standing all alone, making it easier to spot and giving you a little extra cardio in the process ;)

    Have a great day!
    Haley

  4. the parking problem is why I always try to park nearest the entrance with the food court. =D This has served me well even with those outlet malls with multiple food courts. In the case of outlet malls, I pick an anchor store and park nearest the food court and anchor store.

    As for the pattern, I love it!

  5. I love the slideshow effect! Especially because I couldn’t pick which photos to feature at the website, so this way they all display equally.

    Wow, Doris. I’m the same way at malls. If we went to a mall together, we’d spend all day there thinking of designs, never buy anything*, fill up on coffee and chocolate, and then not be able to leave because neither of us can remember where the car is.
    *or buy too much stuff for the design inspiration rather than to wear…

  6. LOL you described me at a mall! I never buy, I look, feel, imagine what it would look like with different stitch patterns, etc.. And like you, I usually do it alone as I lose whoever is with me out of sheer boredom watching me making googly eyes at fabric LOL

    As for the car park, yes, walking up and down row after row trying to find the car. No antenna to impale anything on it. It’s only redeeming factor was it’s color, a deep plum known as Hawaiian purple. It looked black in some light and grey in others but I could always find it. :)

    Love the pattern! Love those photos! They show a side of you that I hadn’t seen yet. That fun loving side, the mischievous little girl came out to play. You should keep modeling your designs this way instead of pro photo shoots! This way makes your designs look very wearable and comfortable.

  7. the tunic length version is particularly stunning – you really get a sense of the swirl.
    i’ve always admired your work on ravelry, so i’m happy that i discovered your blog :)

  8. Wonderful new (revisited!) design … and your modeling is great. Terminal cuteness indeed.

    And I think you tapped into a particular shopping vein – I too always see potential stitch patterns in garments or textiles. And I alwasy dissect any mass-produced crochet piece. Bad, bad, bad. :)

  9. I love your designs and you modeling them! I’ll definitely make this one in the future after I get to a final medium size! But, I have a car story as well. Way back when my oldest son was in grammar school, the Leonid meteor shower happened over a weekend in the middle of winter. My son the scientist asked if I would take him to Jones Beach on the south shore of Long Island to see the meteors. Of course I said yes! Well, we drove in my old 1995 Ford Windstar with no alarm or keypad like the cars of today at about 2:00 in the morning. Do you know how hard it is to find a minivan in a sea of minivans in a beach parking lot with no lights in the middle of winter and the middle of the night? I couldn’t press the lock button so the car would chirp. I couldn’t press the panic button so the alarm would sound. There were no buttons, just a single key. So my young son and I walked up and down the parking lot until we found the car about an hour later. But we did get to see a really cool meteor shower and make many wishes upon falling stars. I should have wished to find my car!

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